Redskins kicker will be decided by game-day pressure


Graham Gano, left, and Neil Rackers, right, at training camp Friday. (John McDonnell/THE WASHINGTON POST)

Gano, entering his third year with the Redskins, and Rackers, a 13-year veteran, have kicked head-to-head in practices, with Gano making 18 of 21 attempts, and Rackers making 17 of 21.

Smith said the kickers are always being evaluated, but what matters most is how each handles pressure in games.

“It’s progressing, but it comes down to the games. … We’re going to put them in those pressure situations,” Smith said.

The plan for Thursday’s preseason opener is for Gano to handle the opening kickoff (if the Redskins do in fact kick off), have him kick the first extra-point attempt or field goal and the ensuing kickoff. Rackers will then go through the same scenario of kickoff, point after attempt, and kickoff.

That will help ensure the kickers get into a game-type rhythm more than alternating each kick would.

“I’m trying to make it game-like for them, trying to make it a routine for them,” Smith said. “Ultimately, it’s games [that determine the outcome]. It’s the pressure situations.”

More Redskins coverage:

Orakpo can’t wait for games to begin

Cousins likely to play a lot Thursday

Royster will start at RB Thursday

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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